The Maravillas 1656

The Maravillas was blessed by the Archbishop of Havana and set sail for Spain on New Year’s Day, 1656 along with 22 armed warships. The chief navigator was sure they had cleared the sand shoals and coral reefs of the Bahamas when all of a sudden; a reef appeared on the horizon. A cannon was fired to warn the rest of the fleet to alter their course. Not all the ships responded to the warning and as the Maravillas came about, she was rammed head-on by a smaller ship. Water began pouring into the Maravillas’ hold and the masts of the two vessels became tangled. As the crews worked frantically to free the rigging, water continued to flood the Maravillas and she finally settled in 30 feet of water. The crew knew the treasure had to be saved. As plans were made to recover the treasure, a storm moved in and within hours the Maravillas disappeared into the sea. Only 45 of the crew survived and the king’s treasure was lost again. King Philip IV died in 1665 without ever recovering the solid-gold statue. 

Rooswijk 1739

On December 18, 1739, Captain Daniel Ronzieres set sail for Batavia, along with three other ships in what was known as the Christmas Fleet. The voyage would not last long. Just one day after leaving Texel, the Rooswijk was caught in a heavy storm. The ship struck the Goodwin Sands off the southeast coast of England. The Goodwin Sands was also known as “the ship-swallower” because of its shifting sands and strong currents. The weather was so bad that boatmen from the towns of Deal and Ramsgate (experts in salvage and rescue) were unable to launch their boats to look for survivors or cargo. There were no survivors. 

Reijgersdaal 1747

In order to reach Indonesia, the Reijgersdaal had to round southern Africa. After several months at sea, she reached Dassen Island on the west coast of Africa in October 1747. She lost 125 men to scurvy en route. Unable to anchor because of bad weather, a boat was lowered so that fresh food could be retrieved from the island. The Reijgersdaal was finally able to anchor on the north side of Robben Island in Table Bay, and remained there until the next day because much of the surviving crew had scurvy. A strong wind prevented the ship from reaching anchorage in Table Bay, so it was decided to weigh anchor and try to return to Dassen Island, but the ship struck a reef during the attempt. About 15 men climbed into a boat to try to take a line ashore, but the ship was destroyed before they reached the shore. The entire crew that remained on board perished in the wreck.